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Many choosing collaborative law to save money and energy

Before couples say their vows, most feel as if their marriage will last a lifetime. However, many times these marriages end in disarray. When it comes time to divorce, splitting couples may find themselves facing difficult legal issues including property division, spousal support, child custody, visitation rights, and child support. The parties to the divorce have many options to choose from when deciding how to address these issues. They can litigate it in court in front of a judge, or they can choose an alternative method. One of those methods, collaborative law, is catching on and may be cheaper and less heart-wrenching than a typical litigated divorce.

Collaborative practice can take place when the parties feel they can split amicably. As the name implies, this method focuses on bringing the couple together to negotiate the legal issues mentioned above. Both parties are usually represented by their own attorney, but other, neutral third parties may also be present. These third parties may be child specialists, divorce coaches, or financial neutrals. With the attorney and these additional individuals spurring negotiations, hopefully the parties can develop an agreement that works in both party's best interest.

While a collaborative approach may be cheaper and contain less animosity, the option is not for everyone. If the parties do not respect each other, are not honest with one another, and cannot cooperate, then another method of divorce may be better. Those who try the collaborative law method even though they cannot get along with the other party put themselves at risk of having to eventually take the divorce through litigation. This can waste more time, money, and emotional energy.

There is no doubt that going through a divorce can be emotionally trying. Yet, an experienced attorney can sit down with a client and help her decide which method of divorce is best suited to her situation. Then, when all is settled, the individual can focus on moving on with her new life.

Source: US News & World Report, "Why a Collaborative Divorce Makes Financial Sense," Geoff Williams, Aug. 19, 2013

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